ATP curated by The National
Days 1 & 2
Bear in Heaven (Brooklyn, NY), Kurt Vile and The Violators (Philadelphia, PA), The Kronos Quartet (San Francisco, CA), Lower Dens (Baltimore, MD), Sharon Van Etten (Brooklyn, NY), The Antlers (Brooklyn, NY), Wild Beasts (Kendal, England)
December 7 & 8, 2012
Pontin’s in Camber Sands, United Kingdom
Going to Europe is a bullet that can be found on the To-Do Lists of many. It definitely was on mine. Getting to go t0 Europe for the opportunity to attend an All Tomorrow’s Parties festival is already magical. But getting to go to Europe to shoot an All Tomorrow’s Parties festival curated by The National is a dream.
For those unfamiliar with an ATP festival this is what pretty much happens. ATP chooses a location. This particular festival was at Pontin’s in Camber Sands. Pontin’s is a resort so everyone with tickets gets to stay on-site in their very own self-catering private apartments called chalets, passes to see all the acts perform, access to DJ’s and bars, cinema programming, as well as access to the site’s facilities for the duration of the festival. ATP then chooses an act to curate the festival. That act then chooses a lineup of their favorite artists, books, television shows, movies, and BOOM -you have an ATP festival.
Pontin’s is located in a little beach town called Camber Sands. Getting to Camber Sands is an adventure all its own because there isn’t one train that goes directly there. I was in Paris, France so it took me 4 trains and 1 bus ride to get there. You can add 2 plane rides from Los Angeles to Toronto and from Toronto to Paris if you’d like. Once in London I went from the St. Pancras station to Ashford, then I took the Ashford International Rail to Rye Sussex and then the Wave 100 bus that drops you off right in front of Pontin’s.
When I got to my chalet the first thing I did was shower and then I decided it would be good to nap to get rid of some of the jet lag I had accumulated over the the last 2 days. I set an alarm that I didn’t hear and so I didn’t wake up until 8 pm. FAIL. I hurried up and ran to stage 1 to catch Brooklyn’s Bear in Heaven. Luckily for me my chalet was only a 2 minute walk from the stages. Bear in Heaven was the perfect band to wake up to. Such great dancers those guys are!
Right after Bear in Heaven’s set Kurt Vile & The Violators took the stage. A band I had been wanting to see for a while and was definitely worth the wait. They played around 60 minutes of glorious music though they were allotted a 90 minute set. Still awesome.
After the Kurt Vile & The Violators set I went down to the smaller second stage located downstairs to see the Scott and Bryan from the National DJ set. I spoke to some lovely people and went back to my chalet around 2 am to rest up for the full day of music that was planned the next day.
The Kronos Quartet are a breathtaking act. I was speechless for the hour in which they were playing. Towards the end of their set they played a piece about 9/11 that was to put it simply, incredible. I’m not sure if it was because I was an American -I doubt it, but that piece moved me. I was scared, I was sad, I was shedding tears, it was pretty crazy. They lightened the mood after that by playing a version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”
Lower Dens was the only act that pretty much played in the dark. The audience seemed restless during this set as was I. After about 4 songs I headed downstairs to catch Richard Reed Parry play their first show. ATP bringing it to you first, folks.
Sharon Van Etten is another one of those acts I had been wanting to see. Watching her play “Serpent” was arguably my favorite part of her set.
I had heard a lot of buzz about The Antlers and I totally get what all the fuss is about. This band is awesome. They stopped during one of the songs because they had an issue with their sound but once the show started back up it was pure awesome. I’d definitely see these guys again. My brother also scored the setlist -lucky bastard.
I’m not going to lie about how excited I was to get to see the Wild Beasts again. In the past year they have worked their way up into my top 5 favorite bands of all time. This performance was particularly special because they were going to be playing Smother in its entirety. It was beautiful. They announced that this would be the last show that Katie Harkin would play with them. I’ve never seen the band play without her but am sure they’ll do just as great. After they finished their Smother set, they came back out and played 7 more songs including “This is our Lot” which has been my jam for the last month. How awesome is that bass line? They also played “Two Dancers” which is always so so nice to hear. They ended their set with “All the King’s Men” and “Hooting and Howling.” My favorite Wild Beast performance to date and I got the setlist. I was tempted to shout “WILD FUCKING BEASTS” like that guy does at the Echo but I didn’t. I should have. I hope they play California in 2013. I think I’m still in withdrawal from their performance. So good.
**Also, a huge huge thanks to the lovely lady whose name I didn’t get that saved my spot up front so that I could shoot the Wild Beasts and come back and watch the show. You are incredible!**